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Christie Sill is very deliberate about setting the tone for her first-grade classroom at Mitchell Road Elementary School.

“I just love the little ones,” she said. “They are my favorite. They are little sponges.”

Life threw a curveball Sill’s way, but it didn’t slow her down for long.

“After I had my third baby, I was diagnosed with a very rare cancer,” she said. “I had to finish the year in the hospital. I was able to come back the next year in October. I am in remission and everything is fine.”

Sill tries to create a classroom environment where kids can be kids, where silly fun is part of every day’s activities and where love is felt by all.

“I have a ton of energy,” she said. “I always have been kind of silly. I want my children to come in my classroom and have a good time. I want them to feel loved. I want this to be a positive, happy environment. Obviously, they are going to learn. We do a lot of movement in here. We do a lot of dancing and a lot of singing to get those little energy bugs out.”

First grade can set the tone for how children feel about school.

“I want them to have their elementary years as a positive experience,” Sill said. “If you are positive and they feel loved by you, they will work harder for you. I try to make sure everyone is hugged. Building relationships with the kids and their families, that helps for a positive school year.”

It was a teacher who inspired Sill to give back by serving students in the classroom.

“I fell in love with my kindergarten teacher,” she said. “I knew when I was a little girl that I wanted to be a mama and I wanted to be a teacher. I remember loving her. In high school, I was able to go back to her classroom and be a teacher cadet. I think she helped me love school and I want to be that person for somebody else. I truly can say this is my calling. It’s my passion.”

Nomination excerpt

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.’ This quote by Eleanor Roosevelt comes to mind when I think of Mrs. Sill. Mrs. Sill is a cancer survivor, mom and by trade an amazing teacher. Each child that walks in her room is greeted with a smile. You can tell by her love for her students that she truly enjoys what she does each day instilling learning in the lives of children.”

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